The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu has ordered a nationwide clampdown on leaders and members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, otherwise known as Shi’ites.
The IGP order is coming on the heels of the order of a Federal High sitting in Abuja proscribing the group on Friday.
The IGP also ordered the arrest of any individual assisting IMN or associating with its members in such a way as would help advance their cause.
Adamu also stated that the Shi’ites would be treated like terrorists and Nigeria’s enemies and prosecuted under the Terrorism Act, including anyone associating with them in any way that could advance their activities in the country.
The police boss gave the order during the monthly IG conference with senior police officers in Abuja on Tuesday.
“All forms of procession or protest by IMN are now illegal and thus banned”, Adamu said, adding that the 63 IMN members including seven women arrested for rioting would be prosecuted.
The IG noted that the activities of the IMN led by Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky had over time evolved to constitute a grave threat to national security, law and order, socio-religious harmony, peace, good governance and Nigeria’s sovereign integrity.
According to him, the sect members were similarly involved in extreme radicalism, terror-related activities, violence and other unlawful activities, adding that these were inimical to national security interest, good governance, and the corporate existence of Nigeria.
Adamu also said the sect had pledged allegiance to foreign countries from which they enjoyed political, financial and training support with the aim of advancing their intents to “destabilise Nigeria from within.”
The police boss further accused them of unauthorised blocking of public highways, mounting illegal roadblocks, imposing illegal curfews and checkpoints, raiding security assets, preventing of arrest of their members, invading of court premises to abort legal proceedings involving IMN members, and refusing to submit to ordinary security checks and attacks on security agents which led to the death of many Nigerians.
Continuing, Adamu said the IMN set up a paramilitary guard known as ‘HURRAS’ through which the group had been terrorising local residents, instituted unregistered security outfits and performed paramilitary ceremonies, including hoisting flags, combat exercises, parades and inspection by the IMN leader reminiscent of a state authority.
He also explained that the group engaged in provocative preaching and hate speech aimed at inciting its members against non-members while working towards its agenda of creating an Islamic state in Nigeria and challenging the legitimacy of the Federal Government in favour of an Islamic government.
Acussing them of not recognising the constitution, state authority, democratic values and disrespect for judicial processes, Adamu said the IMN had over the years manifested its penchant for launching attacks on Nigerians and the symbols of state authority.
Noting that the group had since 2018 till date launched coordinated and organised violent protests within the Federal Capital Territory, the IGP cited the killing of a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Usman Umar, and a youth corps member, Precious Owolabi, during a violent protest by the sect in Abuja on July 22 and the invasion of the National Assembly complex by the Shi’ites on July 9 during which they attacked security personnel and also torched some vehicles to buttress his argument.
According to Adamu, the sect’s activities clearly negated Section 1(2) (a)&(b) of the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013 and Section 2(1) (a) (b) (c) of the same Act, adding that this justified their proscription in overriding national security interest.
He said: “Let me affirm that in relation to the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, in view of their increasing engagement in terror tactics and other violent and subversive activities which contravene the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2013, as amended, and vide the judicial pronouncement of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on July 26, 2019, the Federal Government has classified them as a terrorist group and has accordingly, proscribed the El-Zakzaky-led Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
“Henceforth, any person engaging or associating, in any manner that could advance the activities of the proscribed IMN shall be treated as a terrorist, enemy of the state, and a subversive element and shall be brought to justice within the context of the Terrorism Act.
“The import of this is that all forms of procession or protest by the IMN are now illegal and thus banned. The police and other security agencies are fully committed to giving full effect to this judicial pronouncement in the interest of our internal security and national cohesion.”
He however added that adherents of the Shi’ite sect “remain free to continue to practise their faith and shall be guaranteed adequate security to so do as the judicial order